The Congress Hotel in Chicago has been housing travelers since the days of the World's Fair back in the 1890's. It has seen a lot in its almost 130 years of existence. At least nine presidents have stayed at the Congress including both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt.
HH Holmes, an all around evil man and one of the United States first serial killers, hung around the Congress during the World's Fair, possibly even picking up a few of his victims while at the hotel.
In the 1920's a different kind of guest stayed at the Congress. The mobsters associated with
Al Capone's south side gang. Al Capone himself even lived on the 8th floor for a time. It is thought that the men who carried out the St. Valentine's Day massacre were staying at The Congress when the infamous incident occurred.
With its long history, there were bound to be ghosts, and sure enough, there are. Many ghosts in fact. The 8th floor is said to be haunted by Al Capone. It is thought that his ghost is hanging around, still scheming almost a century later. Another ghost in the hotel is that of a homeless man who wanders the hotel, playing tricks on the guests and staff. He is a mischievous spirit who really appreciates a practical joke. In one of the ballrooms, a female ghost is said to haunt the place. She tends to show up during weddings hosted in the location. She does her best to get noticed by moving objects around.
The most haunted location in the Congress is room 441. The ghost in this room is not friendly. Its supposedly a female ghost who can be aggressive with the guests in the room.
I recently spent the night on the 8th floor of the Congress this past Friday. I've lived in the Chicago area most of my life but, for some reason, have never been inside the hotel. Upon checking in, I was already in awe of the Victorian ambiance of the place. It's pretty cool to know that so many people from US history have stayed there.
I was still basking in the Victorian glory when I reached my floor (8th floor), where the feeling immediately changed to something a bit heavier. If you've been ghost hunting, you probably know what I mean. If you haven't, the best way I can describe it is feeling like you are being watched by a huge crowd. I took a picture of the hallway real quick, but didn't get anything but I've included it below so you can see how creepy it is.
As a couple of my wonderful followers on Instagram stated, it has a "Shining" feeling to it. Agreed.
(If you are on Instagram, follow me there, I tend to post on there more than Facebook and on here https://www.instagram.com/hauntingsaroundamerica/)
I got to my room and settled in by setting up all of my cameras and recording devices in hopes of catching something. Anything.
(Side note) Around this time, I also reached out to a friend of mine, one of the amazing Solace Sisters https://www.instagram.com/solacesisters/. She is a medium with an incredible gift. She and I have been playing a game of sorts where I go to a location and give her absolutely zero details and she will tell me about the location (not even that it was a hotel), the spirits there and more. Well she hit the nail on the head and described this place to the tee and even some of the things I ended up experiencing later on. It was a really cool experience. We're going to start doing this a bit in podcast or live stream form from various ghost hunts, so if you're into that sort of thing, stay tuned.
Getting back to the investigation. It ended up being a long night of....not much. My cameras picked up nothing. Similarly, the voice recorders picked up nothing. I did have a few personal experiences. One in particular when I was trying to sleep and felt a hand on my face. I kind of swatted at it, and it stopped. Until I fell asleep again. Then it did it again. And again. All night.
The next morning, I packed up all of my equipment, had my bags ready to go, even had my mask on and ready to leave, when I heard a rustling in the closet. I quickly grabbed my cell phone to record the sound when...this happened:
As you can see in the mirror, I'm not near the closet when the door opened. I had no idea what was going on, it sounded like a party in there when I went to grab my phone but I wasn't expecting the door to open. I stepped back pretty quickly in surprise on that one.
Though the investigation did not yield a ton of evidence, that video alone was pretty cool to catch. That video combined with the personal experiences I had leave me with no doubt that this place is haunted.
If you are ever in Chicago and are interested in history AND ghosts, the Congress Hotel is your place.